(Published in Millennium Post, dated 9 June 2012, retrieved from http://millenniumpost.in/NewsContent.aspx?NID=3710)
Less than two months after the Ambedkar cartoon row caused a ruckus in Parliament, MDMK General Secretary Vaiko has found another bone to pick with the NCERT Class 12 Political Science textbook. The cartoon he finds offensive dates back to 1965, and takes a dig at the anti-Hindi agitation in Tamil Nadu.
The cartoon, which is printed on Page 153 of the book, appears to foresee the morphing of the anti-Hindi agitation into the pro-Tamil stance of the DMK, which rose to power on the strength of its linguistic fervour. To cement its stance, the DMK has, over its last couple of terms, gone about renaming the capital Madras to Chennai, and then renaming most roads and lanes in the capital.
The sketch portrays an angry student hurling a stone at a board that reads “Assurances: No Hindi! English to continue! No compulsion to learn Hindi. No Hindi! English forever! Etc. Etc.” Bewildered passersby finally figure out, “The boy can’t read English either.”
The drawing accompanies a chapter that speaks of the Dravidian Movement spearheaded by E V Ramaswamy, who is known as ‘Periyar’ in the Dravida ranks.
Vaiko has said the cartoon is insulting to the students and youngsters who participated in the anti-Hindi agitation. The MDMK has condemned the picture, which it says belittles the Dravida movement, and demanded that the caricature be withdrawn from the book with immediate effect.
Vaiko has articulated these demands in a letter addressed to Union Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal and NCERT director Professor Parvin Sinclair. The letter reads, “The anti-Hindi agitation is a glorious chapter in Tamil Nadu’s political history. But the cartoon in the textbook depicts students as ignorant, and merely indulging in violence. This is a total distortion of history and hurts the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu, maligning the historic Dravidian movement.”
He also alleged that it is disrespectful to the eight people who set themselves on fire to protest against the imposition of Hindi in the 1960s.